Aegis Juris fratman asks DOJ to review hazing charges
MANILA, Philippines – Aegis Juris fraternity member Ralph Trangia filed a petition for review before the Department of Justice (DOJ), asking it to reconsider the hazing charges it filed against him.
"[It's] not assigned yet. I'll make sure it gets assigned to a competent and fair state prosecutor," said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday, May 22.
A petition for review is filed by an accused with the DOJ secretary to appeal a prosecution panel's decision. Trangia and 9 other fraternity members were earlier charged before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) over the death of freshman law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III. The charges are non-bailable.
Because of the petition for review, Manila RTC Branch 20 Judge Marivic Umali postponed the arraignment originally set for Tuesday, and rescheduled it to July 24 to give the DOJ time to resolve the petition.
DOJ prosecutors present at the court hearing on Tuesday said another fraternity member has also expressed intent to file a petition for review.
A petition for review has the potential to change the course of a case.
For instance, Superintendent Marvin Marcos, who was initially charged with murder for the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, filed a petition for review. Former justice undersecretary Reynante Orceo was the one who handled the petition, and downgraded the murder charges to the bailable charge of homicide.
A copy of Trangia's petition for review was not immediately available as of posting.
Painful for families
There was a flood of tears outside the courtroom on Tuesday morning as the fratmen's loved ones watch them being whisked away by their escorts to be returned to jail. The 10 fratmen have been detained inside the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) since March 23. (READ: Brotherhood up to the end: Aegis Juris fratmen surrender together)
Standing near the crying relatives were Castillo's parents Horacio II and Carmina, and his sister Nicole.
"Kahit papa'no, nagbigay-pugay naman tayo kasi nirerespeto din natin sila, of all the things that happened, dapat nando'n pa rin 'yung respeto. Simple gesture, like nod, to respect their presence," Horacio II said, adding that none of the fratmen have reached out to them yet.
(At the very least, we acknowledged their presence because we respect them. Of all the things that happened, the respect should still be there. Simple gesture like a nod, to respect their presence.)
Close to tears himself, Horacio II said the death of Atio last September still causes them pain.
"Masakit. Missing your son, lalo na 'yung family, lalo na my wife, ina 'yan eh. So 'pag nakikita mong everything is not okay, naaano ka rin. Titingnan namin kung ano 'yung mangyayari, maybe time will heal all wounds," he said. (READ: Life on the line for young fratmen, but Atio Castillo's mom feels numb)
(It hurts. Missing your son, especially the family, and my wife, because she's a mother. So when you see that everything is not okay, you're also affected. But we're looking at how things are going, maybe time will heal all wounds.) – Rappler.com